Posted by: reisendame | October 23, 2008

Okay kids, “W.” is for…

“WHY?” (I’m taking the easy-reader Sesame Street approach, here)

Just under a week ago, Oliver Stone released his latest big-screen endeavor: “W.” , a biography of America’s current commander-in-chief.

Watch the trailer below:

While Roger Ebert granted the film four stars, praising the portrait as “fascinating,” I believe there is much more to be said about “W.” than its cinematic quality. I doubt that anyone can question Stone’s ability to produce a decent flick, but after seeing “W.” for myself, I have a somewhat different approach in discussing this film.

 Actually, I want to know why Oliver Stone felt the need to create and release this movie so hurriedly (cameras began rolling in May, movie was released October 17), before Bush was relieved of his presidential duties.

Stone in action

Stone in action

The sympathetic part: If Stone intended to present Bush The Man, foibles, faith and all, then it seems to me he’s forgotten that Bush is still a man. We all know that few Americans take Bush seriously anymore, but did Stone have to pour salt on this already-far-too-festered wound? 

Has anyone noticed the weary and forlorn disposition (naturally) that Bush displays when he does make public appearances nowadays? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that movie really made me feel bad for George W. Bush.

Looking not-so-cocky

Looking not-so-cocky

More importantly, I strongly contend that Stone could have thrown his artistic and visionary efforts into a much more effective, relevant, and useful film at this particular juncture. (Catch that elder Bush reference?) Maybe it’s just me, but I’m pretty sure most of the public is well-aware of the aspects of Bush’s life that were covered in the film. Why couldn’t Stone teach us more about something we know little of?

The Clay Pigeon says “A Big P.U. to W.”

Unlike Stone’s JFK and Platoon, which illuminate the past with a critical eye, “W.” struck me as a means of making our present president appear to be an immature, bullheaded fool on a lifelong mission to please his daddy. Even if this is accurate, do Americans need a feature-length film to say so, right now? In my opinion, a big-budget effort like “W.” was completely unnecessary and premature in its birth.

Variety’s Todd Mcarthy really says it best: “Oliver Stone’s unusual and inescapably interesting ‘W.’ feels like a rough draft of a film it might behoove him to remake in 10 or 15 years…it’s questionable how wide a public will pony up to immerse itself in a story that still lacks an ending.”

Read Full Review

What do you think “W.” stands for?

First Lady Laura Bush on Sesame Street

First Lady Laura Bush on Sesame Street

A hilarious, rarely-seen gem: an early 90’s Ben Stiller Show sketch titled “Oliver Stoneland”. PLEASE watch.

A taste of his own caricaturistic medicine?



  1. I agree that the film was a little premature, but I guess Oliver Stone couldn’t pass up the chance to submit his critique of one of the most controversial and least popular presidents in our history while he was still in office. I haven’t seen it yet, but I have a suspicion that I already know how it will play out. All in all, I assume the whole project sounded better in theory than in practice.

  2. I agree that W. would just not have felt as strong if it was to be released later and/or have a higher budget. I thought it had a simple but sad feel that it focused on the fact for so much of his life he just wanted to make his poppy proud of him, but I wonder if Oliver Stone ended the movie before W. really started to become unpopular on purpose.

  3. Right. I enjoyed your review, but of course there’s something to say about Oliver Stone’s style: his movies are frenetic, relevant and in-your-face, and the speed at which he created this one exhibits the same chaos that has existed under the Bush administration.

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